Ivy Tech Community College announces Alumni Achievement Award Honorees

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INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA (NEWS) -  Ivy Tech Community College recognized 14 honorees for its annual Alumni Achievement Award.  The individuals were honored at a ceremony  held on October 4 in French Lick.  The Alumni Achievement Award presented to two of the 14 honorees selected from across the state.

Since 1998, the Alumni Achievement Award has recognized graduates with outstanding professional or personal achievements since completing their education. The Award is designated for individuals who have made a positive contribution to the community or Ivy Tech through leadership and/or volunteering.

The following alumni were nominated for the Alumni Achievement Award:

Alan Holdren (Muncie) -- Alan Holdren is one of the first two graduates from Ivy Tech Community College (Muncie) Biomedical Technology program, receiving his Associate of Applied Science degree in 1982. For the past 19 years, Holdren has been affiliated with Atlas Collections, working with companies to evaluate and handle their collection issues. Holdren actively works to give back to his community’s less fortunate. In 2004, Holdren and his family started the Secret Families Christmas Charity, a program that provides an entire Christmas to low income families throughout Delaware County. In its most recent year, the program raised more than $100,000 and provided Christmas to 180 families. He also continues to volunteer at Hearts and Hands United Coat Drive and Backpack Giveaways, Muncie Mission Meals, and Blood ‘N Fire Disaster Relief Team.

LaVeena Rebber (Columbus) -- After graduating from Ivy Tech Community College (Columbus) in 2004, LaVeena Rebber has gone on to earn both her bachelor’s degree and Master of Science degree at Indiana Wesleyan University and Ashford University, respectively. Rebber has been employed at Ivy Tech since July 2004, where she has worked in the Career Services, Financial Aid, and Student Affairs departments. She currently works as Financial Aid Assistant and as an adjunct professor. Rebber has also served on the following committees during her time at Ivy Tech: Strategic Planning, Accelerating Greatness, Achieving the Dream, and Indiana Student Financial Aid Association. In addition to her contributions to Ivy Tech, Rebber is also a member of Leadership Jackson County and Office Administration Program Advisory Board – Columbus. Rebber also volunteers as a Daisy, Brownie, and Girl Scout Troop Leader.

Scott Smith (Madison) -- Scott Smith graduated from Ivy Tech Community College (Madison) in 1987 while maintaining a job and raising a young family. He went on to obtain his bachelor’s degree in history and business administration in 1991 at Northern Kentucky University. He began his job as a bookkeeper at Bruns-Gutzwiller Construction while still an undergraduate at Ivy Tech, and continued there after being appointed as head bookkeeper upon graduation. Smith continued to move his way up in the company, and after many years of hard work, he is now the Controller and Chief Financial Officer at Bruns-Gutzwiller. Smith originally accepted an offer to play basketball at Danville Community College in Illinois, but left after one semester in order to prioritize his young family.  He has gone on to coach girls basketball and head up fundraisers at Jac-Cen-Del High School in Osgood since 1996.

Tracy Titus (Evansville) -- Tracy Titus is an alumna of Ivy Tech Community College (Evansville) and completed her Associate of Science Degree in Nursing in 1991. She first worked at Deaconess Hospital before being hired at the Vanderburgh County Jail. She has been a supporter of the “Shop With a Sheriff” program, Salvation Army bell ringing, Toys for Tots, and attended the Jail Prison Ministries Banquet. She is a certified instructor for CPR, AED, and First Aid and can instruct at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy. She has worked part-time as a surveyor for the National Commission on Correctional Health Care for the past two years, where she quickly became lead surveyor.

Bill Hall (Sellersburg) -- In 1987, Bill Hall graduated from Ivy Tech Community College (Sellersburg) with an Associate of Applied Science degree in digital electronics. After graduation, Hall held a number of jobs, beginning as Junior Technician at The Computer Shoppe and going on to companies such as GE, EMC, and Cisco. Hall currently works as President and CEO of boice.net, a company that has quadrupled in number of employees under his leadership as well as improved revenues by over 2,000 percent. Hall also gives back to the communtiy through his professional work, and supports organizations such as Blessings in a Backpack, Make a Wish Foundation, and the American Heart Association.

Elizabeth Dreyer (Bloomington) -- In 1982, Elizabeth Dreyer graduated from Ivy Tech Community College (Bloomington) in Accounting. She went on to earn her Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting at Indiana University Bloomington and is a leader in the fields of finance and accounting. Dreyer has over 19 years of experience in the business field, and currently works as Vice President, Controller and Chief Accounting Officer for Hillenbrand Inc.  She is recognized on regional and national levels for her achievements for her leadership in her field, and continues to give back to the Ivy Tech campus in Bloomington.

Melissa Osika (Valparaiso) -- Melissa Osika is an alumnae of the Ivy Tech Community College (Valpraiso) class of 2009. She graduated with a 4.0 GPA and a degree in paralegal technology. She has had great professional success as a Realtor Broker-Associate since graduation. She is a member of the 2012 International President’s Circle for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, which puts her in the top 8 percent of Coldewell Banker agents worldwide. In 2012, she closed 37 homes for over $5.8 million in sales production. In addition to her professional contributions, Osika is also active in her community as a volunteer. For six years, she has been Volunteer Director at Friends Assisting Women in Need (FAWN), and has chaired their fashion show for the last two years. Osika also served on Ivy Tech’s Capital Campaign for the Valpraiso Campus.

April Howell (South Bend) -- April Howell graduated from Ivy Tech Community College (South Bend) with an Associate of Arts Degree in Hospitality Administration. She now teaches at Ivy Tech as uses her real-world experience to impact students. Howell is active in the American Culinary Federation and is currently employed with the Martin’s Supermarket School of Cooking. At Martin’s, Howell is an instructor for the children’s programs and Junior Chef camps. She has been awarded the American Culinary Federation’s South Bend Chapter Junior Chef of the Year Award two years in a row.

Scott Dudick (Fort Wayne) -- Scott Dudick graduated from Ivy Tech Community College (Fort Wayne) in 2003 with a degree in Computer Information Systems. After being diagnosed at a young age with dyslexia and ADHD, Dudick had to overcome many challenges to obtain his education. The flexibility at Ivy Tech allowed him to excel. He made the dean’s list, and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Business Information Systems and a master’s degree in Information Assurance. He taught courses at Ivy Tech while earning his master’s degree, and continues to teach at DeVry University. Dudick is the Chief Information Security Officer for Louisville Metro Government.

John Duncan (Lafayette) -- John Duncan is an alumnus of Ivy Tech Community College (Lafayette) and graduated in 2000. He earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in Industrial Technology and a technical certificate in Industrial Maintenace. Duncan continued his education and earned his bachelor’s degree in 2007 in Industrial Technology.  After completing a four-year apprentice process he became a certified elevator technician at Purdue Unviersity. Duncan began teaching at Ivy Tech in 2006 and has continued to teach for Corporate College and the School of Technology. He is currently chair of the Advanced Manufacturing Advisory Committee at Ivy Tech.

Steven Wagner (Logansport) -- Steven Wagner graduated from Ivy Tech Community College (Logansport) in 1991. He graduated with a degree in Statistical Process Quality Control Technology and later earned his Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business Administration from Indiana Wesleyan University in 1996. He has always worked in the field of his degree from Ivy Tech. At Federal Mogul, Wagner is part of the lead manufacturing team. The company has seen considerable growth over the past few years, including an additional 132 jobs at his facility last year. In addition to his professional achievements, Wagner also gives back as a volunteer at various organizations such as the American Red Cross as Volunteer Instructor and on the Cass County Local Emergency Planning Committee as a Board Member. Wagner has also taught at Ivy Tech as an adjunct faculty member.

Debbie Garling (Terre Haute) -- Debbie Garling is an alumna of Ivy Tech Community College (Terre Haute). She graduated in 1980 with a technical certificate in Medical Laboratory Technology and in 1993 with an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Medical Lab Technology. She is currently the Quality Assurance Manager at MedLab in Terre Haute where she began working in 1980. Overall, she has 32 years of experience in the medical laboratory field and 17 years of experience in quality assurance monitoring for all laboratory departments. She is also a member of the Ivy Tech Alumni Council, Ivy Tech Medical Laboratory Advisory Committee, and the American Society of Clinical Pathologists.

Sandy Jeffers (Indianapolis) -- Sandy Jeffers graduated with her associate’s degree from Ivy Tech Community College in Indianapolis after years of overcoming personal challenges and obstacles. She managed to complete her degree with a 4.0 GPA with the help of mentors and instructors at Ivy Tech. Since graduating, Jeffers has had professional success working with Pathway to Recovery, where she is now the executive director. Through her work with Pathway, the organization has grown in size and contribution. Over the last 19 years of her employment, Pathway has helped over 1,200 homeless community members begin taking the steps to recover from addiction and has developed five substance-free affordable permanent housing programs for over 90 men, women and families. Jeffers is the recipient of the 2010 Drug Free Marion County Community Service Award and the 2009 Mayor’s Community Service Award.

Tia Bowling (Richmond) -- Tia Bowling is an alumna of Ivy Tech Community College (Richmond) and graduated in 1988 with a Practical Nursing Certificate. Following graduation, she worked for 16 years in the mental health care field. In 2004, she returned to Ivy Tech to earn her Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) in 2006 and was selected as graduation speaker. Over the next six years, she earned the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (2009) and Master of Science in Nursing (2012) from Indiana Wesleyan University. While earning her degrees, she worked fulltime in obstetrics at Reid Hospital and Health Care Services before transferring to Fayette Regional Health System as a medical surgical nurse and supervisor of the acute rehab unit for five years. In 2010, she joined Ivy Tech-Richmond School of Nursing as an adjunct instructor, and joined the nursing faculty in 2011. She became a Certified Family Nurse Practitioner in 2013. Bowling is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor society for Nursing and the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Ivy Tech Community College is the state's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system serving nearly 200,000 students annually.  Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering affordable degree programs and training that are aligned with the needs of its community along with courses and programs that transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association.

Alan Holdren

An Eaton native and Delta High School graduate, Alan Holdren is one of the first two graduates from the Biomedical Technology program on any Ivy Tech campus, receiving his Associate of Applied Science degree in 1982. Holdren chose Ivy Tech due to his father’s advice, “you need to be able to make or fix something in the future.” Ivy Tech was the local, natural fit to develop this skill set. Following graduation, Al took a job with Dr. David Costill in Ball State University’s Human Performance Laboratory. Three years later he was ready to start his own business utilizing his biomedical, design and sales skills. For the past 19 years, Holdren has been affiliated with Atlas Collections, working with companies to evaluate and handle their collection issues. 

But, what sets “Big Al” apart from others, in addition to the magnetic personality that earned him his nickname, is his large heart and his quiet devotion to the community’s less fortunate. In 2004, Holdren and his family started the Secret Families Christmas Charity, a program that provides an entire Christmas – gifts, trees, meals and Bibles – to low income families throughout Delaware County. That first year the Holdrens, which include his wife Chris and daughters Katie and Maddie, helped two families. Eight years later, the joint efforts of donors and volunteers raised more than $100,000 for Secret Families and provided Christmas to 180 families.  And, this was all accomplished on one Saturday in December.

Recent years have been especially challenging for Holdren as he faced the death of his father and the loss of his home to a fire. But he continued his efforts to give back which included volunteering his time for Hearts and Hands United Coat Drive and Backpack Giveaways, Muncie Mission Meals, and the Blood N Fire Disaster Relief Team, which sent him to Joplin, Henryville, and most recently to assist with the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

When asked what Ivy Tech means to him, he simply stated, “Opportunity.” Al Holdren exhibits the meaning of opportunity through selfless giving. By honoring the advice given to him by his father many years ago, he has made things better for a grateful community, fixing what he can, whenever he can.

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